Wednesday, August 21, 2013


By Earl S. Wynn

Day after day, he traded flowers of glass for flowers of meat. Elegant, painted, glittering and beautiful, the flowers he grew sprouted from shards, rose up from the wet earth like tiny slivers of hope, blossomed in the cold fog of morning. With practiced patience, he broke off their thorns, let them chew through the skin of his fingers as he pushed the little barbs into the mud one by one, sang the prayers that would bring new flowers in the coming morning. Some days, only a few would sprout. Some days, thousands. Somehow, it was always just enough.

She came every morning, spread the petals of her finest, fleshy flower so that he could see inside the blossom, marvel at its complexity, the warmth, the wetness of the ovules within. Some days, she would bring just one flower. Some days, she would bring three or four. Somehow, it was always just enough.

Then, one day, there came a morning when a shadow passed over her garden. The flowers of meat that she had so carefully cultivated refused to grow, hung their heads and closed their petals with the stress of the season. Dutiful, she gave what she could to the man who grew flowers of glass, but eventually even the few blossoms she forced from the earth ran out. Dutiful, the man who grew flowers of glass began to give her his blossoms on credit, smiling patiently as she explained that a huge harvest was coming, that times were slow and that she would make it all up to him soon. Slowly, dutifully, he began to starve, thinned steadily until he was nearly a skeleton. Still, he agreed to give his flowers to her on credit. Still, he agreed to take her word that a grand harvest was coming.

Then, one day, there came a morning when the man who grew flowers of glass didn’t come. The woman who grew the flowers of meat called for him, searched for him, cried out for him, but he was gone. In her hands, she cradled a soft, small blossom of meat, the first to sprout from her garden for a long while, but no matter how much she searched, how much she prayed and called, he wouldn’t come.

Day after day, she returned with more and more blossoms. Only a few at first, then dozens, hundreds, but the man who grew the flowers of glass never came. Dutiful, she came every day, brought every flower she could coax from the earth in the hopes of trading with the man again, but day after day, the place where they met only gathered more dust.

Then, one day, there came a morning when she found a note, a simple letter from the man who had grown flowers of glass and so dutifully offered them on credit. In rosy, soft-petalled words, he stated that he had found another gardener to trade with, that the woman who grew flowers of meat was released of all obligation and that he bore her no ill will.

In her hands, she cradled thousands of tiny, fleshy blossoms. Her huge harvest had finally come, but still she cried, because now she knew that somehow, it would never be enough.

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E.S. Wynn is the author of over forty books.


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